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Aløft

There's nothing new about Nordic interiors - blond timbers, concrete surfaces, warm, mid-century charm without the twee - and thank heavens for that. It's a style that augments the beauty of everything around it, in this case, gorgeous Hobart harbour, which makes up one whole wall. What is new here, however, is the food - by veterans of Garagistes, which once dazzled diners down the road, Vue de Monde in Melbourne and Gordon Ramsay worldwide. There's a strong Asian bent, but with Tasmanian ingredients. In fact, the kitchen's love of the local verges on obsessive - coconut milk in an aromatic fish curry is replaced with Tasmanian-grown fig leaf simmered in cream to mimic the flavour. Other standouts include a gutsy red-braised lamb with gai lan and chewy cassia spaetzle, pigs' ears zingy with Sichuan pepper and a fresh, springy berry dessert. While the food is sourced locally, the generous wine list spans the planet. 

Secret Tuscany

A far cry from Tuscany’s familiar gently rolling hills, Monte Argentario’s appealing mix of mountain, ocean, island and lagoon makes it one of Italy’s hidden treasures, writes Emiko Davies.

Farro recipes

Farro can be used in almost any dish, from a robust salad to accompany hearty beer-glazed beef short ribs to a new take on risotto with mushrooms, leek and parmesan. Here are 14 ways with this versatile grain.

Moon Park to open Paper Bird in Potts Point

No, it’s not a pop-up. The team behind Sydney’s Moon Park is back with an all-day east-Asian eatery.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

Grilled apricot salad with jamon and Manchego

Here we've scorched apricots on the grill and served them with torn jamon, shaved Manchego and peppery rocket leaves. Think of it as a twist on the good old melon-prosciutto routine. The mixture would also be great served on charred sourdough.

Discovering Macedonia

Like its oft-disputed name, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia defies simple definition but its rich diversity extends from the dinner table to the welcoming locals, writes Richard Cooke.

Brae

Prepare to enter a picture of the countryside framed by note-perfect Australiana but painted in bold, elegant and unsentimental strokes. Over 10 or more courses, Dan Hunter celebrates his region with dishes that are formally daring (Crunchy prawn heads! Creamy oyster soft-serve! Sea urchin and chicory bread pudding!), yet rich in flavour and substance. The menu could benefit from an edit, but the plates are tightly composed - and what could you cut? Certainly not the limpid broth bathing fronds of abalone and calamari, nor the clever arrangement of lobster played off against charred waxy fingerlings under a swatch of milk skin. The adventure is significantly the richer for the cool gloss of the dining room, some of the most engaging service in the nation and wine pairings that roam with an easy-going confidence. Maturing and relaxing without surrendering a drop of its ambition, Brae is more compelling than ever.

Meet Your Maker: Sydney designer Christina Mclean

Trade the Mark designer Christina Mclean

Trade the Mark designer Christina Mclean

Sydney designer Christina Mclean has been addicted to colour and pattern since she was a young girl. "I remember being enamoured by the scales on fish I used to catch with my dad, and the patterns in the leaves of the plants my mum used to grow," she says. Mclean has designed prints for leading Australian fashion designers such as Sass & Bide, Romance Was Born and Bianca Spender, but in 2014 she took a step back to start her own creative business, Trade the Mark. As a "mark maker", as she calls herself, Mclean handcrafts the likes of indigo-dyed linen napery, cheese platters and hanging planters - each ceramic piece painted with bold underglazes and then sgraffito-etched with fine, graphic lines.

You work across art, textiles and ceramics. How do you balance all of these media, Christina?
They all feed each other in many ways. I tend to sit with one material for a while, then there's an organic shift and I move to the next. One thing in common with my textiles and ceramics are the marks I put on them. Whether it's a piece of cloth, ceramics or paper, I stare at the form and it speaks to me - a blank canvas, waiting to be filled with print.

Your St Peters studio is an Aladdin's cave. How do you make it work?
I open my studio to the public and to stockists, so it's a showroom as much as it is a working studio. There's a lot of wetclay flying around when you throw, so I contain the wheel work in one corner, and when I'm painting my textiles, I need enough space to be able to step back and see the piece from a distance, so I hang a lot of work within the space, too.

How have your experiences in fashion influenced Trade the Mark?
I've experimented a lot with dyes, printing and painting on fabric with my fashion design work. I remember developing prints for Sass & Bide in the early days. To see a print you'd worked on go down the runway at London Fashion Week is pretty amazing. We're the sum of all of our experiences - and I'm a mark maker, committed to the slow tradition of hand-craftsmanship. Trade the Mark, from $55, 0431 600 700, tradethemark.com

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